Are their any actual sporting events taking place these days? Seems like everywhere you turn, the sports world offers media types and fans alike all sorts of controversy. Four of this week's hot topics? Let's discuss!
The Removal Of The Toomers Oaks:
I arrived at Toomers Corner at 5:45 am to several news vans, TV cameras and a one or two lingering Auburn fans. The chain saws cranked up at 7:22, and by 11:30 am it was over. Nearly a half a century of tradition removed (at least until 2014 when new trees will be installed). The mood was somber among those in the crowd of 200 or so. One older gentleman told me that he would have liked to have seen Harvey Updyke up on one of the branches. With tears in his eyes he quickly apologized, saying that he was simply emotional. Why the small crowd? Al Del Greco correctly pointed out on the radio that perhaps many Auburn fans wanted to stay away from something so upsetting. So go ahead and say "Man, they are just trees, dudes, get over it." To Auburn fans, who have seen weddings, birthday parties, proposals, victory dances and the uniting of athletes and fans below those oaks, Tuesday was a rightful a day of mourning.
Alabama Guard Trevor Lacey To Transfer:
Alabama basketball coach Anthony Grant has been bashed pretty good the last 24 hours as a coach who does not relate to his players, runs players off, and underperforms. While those criticisms may be on target, remember there are two sides to every story. Many would say that Lacey has underperformed since coming out of high school as one America's top recruits (remember, he had Kentucky and Kansas on his radar). In two seasons at Alabama, Trevor Lacey, a 5-star recruit, averaged 9 points and 3 rebounds a game. While Moussa Gueye has also transferred, Anthony Grant, a man I imagine is not easy for which to play, may deserve the benefit of the doubt. How ironic is the fact that the young man who told Fox6 last month that Bama would play in the Final Four next season is heading out of town?
Gene Chizik On Tour Defending Auburn University:
The former AU football coach had not been heard from since his dismissal, but here he was Monday holding court on WJOX radio, then holding a long media session at (I can't make this stuff up), Auburn University. There is no doubt that as Auburn AD Jay Jacobs released his findings on the Selena Roberts report, Chizik went to the media in support of the man who fired him (at least Chizik spoke to reporters in the soccer/track building and not in the football complex where his replacement is now housed). Was Jacobs aware of Chizik's media sessions? Of course. Was it wrong? Not necessarily, as both took turns bashing Roberts and denying (correctly in most every instances) the accusations found in the report. Still, I found it a bit odd that a fired coach would be asked back to defend the university that released him. There is no denying that there were problems in the program under Chizik, especially in 2010 when a spice epidemic should have been addressed more thoroughly. Said Chizik in standing by his former employer, "We did everything right." Uh, Gene? If you did everything right, you'd still be the Auburn football coach.
Was That DJ Fluker's Tweet?
All heck broke loose on Tuesday after a tweet attributed to the former Bama offensive lineman went viral. From Fluker's account read the following: "Yea I took $ n college so wat. I did wat i had to. Agents was tryin to pimp me so I pimped them. Cast da first stone." The catch? Fluker's agent Deryk Gilmore insists the account was hacked. Says Gilmore, "We know who did this." On the surface this appears to be the case, for if you follow @DjFluker76 you know that the big guy refrains from harmful tweets- most often tweeted by Fluker are Bible verses. Still, asked if the UA compliance people would look into the matter, Nick Saban said a on a conference call, "Absolutely. We're trying to do things the right way." And you wonder why Saban doesn't have a Twitter account.
And that's what it is at this hour. I hear the Braves are playing this afternoon and the NFL draft is Thursday night. Can't wait to talk some real sports!